Symbolism as Exclusion

The confederate flag is racist and exclusionary. Displaying it at the White House would be inflammatory and inappropriate because it would alienate a large segment of the population.
So tell me- how is this not the same thing?

  

Luther on the Beauty, and Ugliness of Marriage

Luther concludes

O what a truly noble, important, and blessed condition the estate of marriage is if it is properly regarded! O what a truly pitiable, horrible, and dangerous condition it is if it is not properly regarded! And to him who bears these things in mind the desire of the flesh may well pass away, and perhaps he could just as well take on chastity as the married state. The young people take a poor view of this and follow only their desires, but God will consider it important and wait on him who is in the right.*

___________________
*The Christian in Society I. (Vol. 44, pp. 13–14).

Luther: On The Goodness of Marital Love

Luther writes

God makes distinctions between the different kinds of love, and shows that the love of a man and woman is (or should be) the greatest and purest of all loves. For he says, “A man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife” [Gen. 2:24], and the wife does the same, as we see happening around us every day.

Now there are three kinds of love: false love, natural love, and married love.

  1. False love is that which seeks its own, as a man loves money, possessions, honor, and women taken outside of marriage and against God’s command.
  2. Natural love is that between father and child, brother and sister, friend and relative, and similar relationships.
  3. But over and above all these is married love, that is, a bride’s love, which glows like a fire and desires nothing but the husband. She says, “It is you I want, not what is yours: I want neither your silver nor your gold; I want neither. I want only you. I want you in your entirety, or not at all.”

All other kinds of love seek something other than the loved one: this kind wants only to have the beloved’s own self completely.*

___________
*The Christian in Society I. (Vol. 44, pp. 8–9).

Martin Luther’s Sermon on Marriage

Luther observes

If God himself does not give the wife or the husband, anything can happen. For the truth indicated here is that Adam found no marriageable partner for himself, but as soon as God had created Eve and brought her to him, he felt a real married love toward her, and recognized that she was his wife. Those who want to enter into the estate of marriage should learn from this that they should earnestly pray to God for a spouse.

For the sage says that parents provide goods and houses for their children, but a wife is given by God alone [Prov. 19:14], everyone according to his need, just as Eve was given to Adam by God alone. And true though it is that because of excessive lust of the flesh lighthearted youth pays scant attention to these matters, marriage is nevertheless a weighty matter in the sight of God.

For it was not by accident that Almighty God instituted the estate of matrimony only for man and above all animals, and gave such forethought and consideration to marriage. To the other animals God says quite simply, “Be fruitful and multiply” [Gen. 1:22]. It is not written that he brings the female to the male. Therefore, there is no such thing as marriage among animals. But in the case of Adam, God creates for him a unique, special kind of wife out of his own flesh. He brings her to him, he gives her to him, and Adam agrees to accept her. Therefore, that is what marriage is.*

________________
*Luther’s works, vol. 44: The Christian in Society I. (p. 8).

Next Up: Polygamy

Or as Politico says-

Welcome to the exciting new world of the slippery slope. With the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling this Friday legalizing same sex marriage in all 50 states, social liberalism has achieved one of its central goals. A right seemingly unthinkable two decades ago has now been broadly applied to a whole new class of citizens. Following on the rejection of interracial marriage bans in the 20th Century, the Supreme Court decision clearly shows that marriage should be a broadly applicable right—one that forces the government to recognize, as Friday’s decision said, a private couple’s “love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family.”

The question presents itself: Where does the next advance come? The answer is going to make nearly everyone uncomfortable: Now that we’ve defined that love and devotion and family isn’t driven by gender alone, why should it be limited to just two individuals? The most natural advance next for marriage lies in legalized polygamy—yet many of the same people who pressed for marriage equality for gay couples oppose it.

This is not an abstract issue. In Chief Justice John Roberts’ dissenting opinion, he remarks, “It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage.” As is often the case with critics of polygamy, he neglects to mention why this is a fate to be feared. Polygamy today stands as a taboo just as strong as same-sex marriage was several decades ago—it’s effectively only discussed as outdated jokes about Utah and Mormons, who banned the practice over 120 years ago.

Yet the moral reasoning behind society’s rejection of polygamy remains just as uncomfortable and legally weak as same-sex marriage opposition was until recently.

Now, where are all the ridiculous people who told us there was no such thing as the slippery slope?  In hiding?  On vacation?  Unavailable?

Read the rest.

One Final Word About the Silly ‘Unofficial’ SBL Facebook Page

I wasn’t a participant in the group yesterday when all the fun happened but I have heard from several sources that the ‘Jim West’ bashing was led by Bob Cargill and Tom Bolin.  More Cargill than Bolin (though Bolin’s participation too is stunning).

I mention it only to say this:  how sad.  I can’t remember ever attacking either of these two persons, who I formerly was able to count among friends so it’s a bit surprising that the pair of them felt compelled to go all Hector Avalos-ian up in here and let fly.  Especially since they were both aware that I wasn’t a participant of the collective and thus couldn’t respond.

Not that I would have responded.  I would have simply sat still with my mouth hung open.

Now it’s well known that Cargill has had issues with me (only concerning the issue of SSM) for a long time.  But perhaps a little historical back-story is in order.

Cargill and I became close friends when the loony New York lawyer was pretending to be Larry Schiffmann.  Bob and I had a lot of discussions, met several times, communicated a lot, and worked together quite closely so that the matter could come to the full light of day.  I supported Bob during the months of court proceedings.  I stood by his side and aided in every way that I could.

One year, during CBA out in Los Angeles, I met Bob for dinner and met at that time his very charming very lovely wife.  She’s a beautiful girl.  We had a lovely time and during our conversations we discussed the SSM issue.  I explained my point of view and they were both very gracious.  I mentioned in particular the fact that Romans 1:24-28 speaks very, very clearly (to me).  I wasn’t at any point of our dinner rude, inappropriate, or unkind.  And concerning the passage Cargill too confessed that it gave him pause concerning the issue of SSM.

Then time passed and Bob grew more distant and then he became, to put it politely, downright hostile.

I’m not sure what happened.  Bob knew me, and my personality, from the very start.  I haven’t changed and neither have my views.  But something changed.  And I still have no idea what.  It really doesn’t matter.  All that matters to me is that I confess that it is very hurtful to have supported a person during a very trying time and then to discover that he’s covering his mouth with his hand and putting me to the pillory.

So, anyway, that’s the story of our rift.  Like all rifts, who knows the tiny fissure that precipitated it.  Maybe I’m just a jerk and Bob has come to see me as intolerable.  Fair enough.  But, to me, that is no justification for joining with the mocking mob.   If Bob wants to debate a certain point, I’m up to it.  I’ll gladly put my intellect up against his any time, anywhere.  For that matter, I’m willing to discuss anything with anyone.

His hostility, his private vitriol, they trouble me.  They hurt.  And they make me sad.  Sad beyond words.

Anyway, that’s my final word on Bob, on the Unofficial SBL stupidity that should be shut down by now, and on the subject of Bob’s and my failed straight BFF relationship.  Further questions should be directed to Bob.

Finis

Today Most Christians Need a Mirror and Not a TV

You really have to wonder, if Christian people had actually been living the gospel, worshiping the Lord, teaching their children to do the same, taken them to church (and not just sent them), been involved in prayer and bible study these last decades if our Country wouldn’t be a very different place.

But instead, Christians regularly skip worship, live for themselves, ignore the Bible, hardly ever pray except when they get sick, and don’t have time to study Scripture (because they, apparently, already know it all).

So, really, whilst so many have ignored Hebrews 10:25 (go ahead, look it up), and John 3:16, and Romans 5:10 and all the rest, should we be at all surprised that Romans 1:24-28 too is set to the side?

And do we have any right to tell the world in which we live that it should live up to God’s standards as revealed in Scripture when so few Christians do it themselves?

Maybe Christians need a mirror today more than they need a tv. Maybe they should be thinking about their own faithfulness. You know, while they’re at home Sunday.

The ‘Unofficial’ SBL Facebook Page Admin and Accordance Bible Software

Read this if you at all watched the unfurling of misogynistic anti-Islamic insanity on the ‘Unofficial’ SBL Facebook page yesterday.  ESPECIALLY take note of this brilliant entry by Helen Brown (whom I do not know, but really admire):

I moved this last post to the present topic, and I unhid the topic. However, this forum is NOT the place for discussion on Tim Jenney’s Facebook posts elsewhere. We are taking steps to ensure that we are not involved further in the mudslinging that characterized the quoted page in the last day or so. We do not endorse Dr. Jenney’s views on every topic, but he is, of course, free to express them in other forums or websites. They should not be taken as representative of our company or our software.

#BAM!  And that’s how you handle such things.  #Respect.

Unitarian Unilateralists….

The local news is stuffed to the brim with stories of gay folk getting married but there’s one that caught my eye like no other.  It’s the tale of the Unitarian Unilateralists!  No, that’s not a typo by me- behold-

unilateralists

Sure am glad these kids got dressed up… but anyway… the first SSM folk in Knoxville are one Jon Coffey and his partner Keith…. Jon is a Unitarian Unilateralist ministerial intern….

Unitarian Unilateralist.  I think they’ve actually stumbled on the most accurate synonym for the dreaded Universalists yet.  So, WATE 6, well played.

An Olive Branch To AAR

I have, I understand, hurt the feeling of some people in the AAR.  So I want to extend an olive branch and pass along, gratis, a group photo of last year’s pool party.  What a good looking group….

Ah AAR… you’re special and always will be.

ng799

The Word of the Lord

And the Lord said unto me, Pray not for this people for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt-offering and meal-offering, I will not accept them; but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.  – Jer 14:11-12

A Commentary on the Manuscripts and Text of the New Testament

This looks great!

9780825443404An up-to-date commentary on all the significant manuscripts and textual variants of the New Testament.  This small and insightful volume is an essential resource for the committed student of Greek New Testament. Using the same trim size as UBS and NA28 Greek New Testaments, this reference commentary, based on the latest research, is designed to aid the reader in understanding the textual reliability, variants, and translation issues for each passage in the New Testament.

Unlike any other commentary, this volume contains commentary on actual manuscripts rather than a single version of the Greek New Testament. There are nearly 6,000 existing manuscripts, and just as many textual variants, with thousands of manuscripts having been discovered since the time of the King James Version. This commentary is filled with notes on significant textual variants between these manuscripts.

Delusion

Let us look into ourselves without flattery or blind self-love. It is not strange that we are so deluded in this matter, seeing none of us can avoid that pestilential self-indulgence, which, as Scripture proclaims, is naturally inherent in all: “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,” says Solomon (Prov. 21:2). And again, “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes,” (Prov. 16:2).

What then? does this hallucination excuse him? No, indeed, as Solomon immediately adds, “The Lord weigheth the spirits;” that is, while man flatters himself by wearing an external mask of righteousness, the Lord weighs the hidden impurity of the heart in his balance. Seeing, therefore, that nothing is gained by such flattery, let us not voluntarily delude ourselves to our own destruction.

To examine ourselves properly, our conscience must be called to the judgment-seat of God. His light is necessary to disclose the secret recesses of wickedness which otherwise lie too deeply hid. Then only shall we clearly perceive what the value of our works is; that man, so far from being just before God, is but rottenness and a worm, abominable and vain, drinking in “iniquity like water.” For “who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one,” (Job 14:5). Then we shall experience the truth of what Job said of himself: “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say I am perfect, it shall prove me perverse,” (Job 9:20).

Nor does the complaint which the prophet made concerning Israel apply to one age only. It is true of every age, that “all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way,” (Isaiah 53:6). Indeed, he there comprehends all to whom the gift of redemption was to come.

And the strictness of the examination ought to be continued until it have completely alarmed us, and in that way prepared us for receiving the grace of Christ. For he is deceived who thinks himself capable of enjoying it, until he have laid aside all loftiness of mind. There is a well-known declaration, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble,” (1 Pet. 5:5).

So Calvin in the Institutes.  Doing what ‘we’ think is right as opposed to doing what God says is right and deluding ourselves into believing that we are nonetheless ‘upright’ or ‘good’ is the surest sign not only of self delusion, but madness.

Theological Education Sunday

Welcome to HKSKH Ming Hua Theological Education Sunday (28 June).

The College is immensely grateful to its many kind benefactors, and honoured by the loyalty and support of the Church and all its members. We remain dedicated to making the very best theological education available to everyone in the HKSKH.

Please consider joining us to support this invaluable aspect of our Church’s life. Donations can be made:

  • Through church office to HKSKH Ming Hua Theological College
  • By cheque: Payable to HKSKH Ming Hua Theological College

Receipt will be issued for $100 or above

Contact:
HKSKH Ming Hua Theological College
Glenealy, Central, Hong Kong
Phone: (852) 2521 7708
Fax: (852) 2521 9370
Email: enquiry@minghua.org.hk

minghua

Via the Ming Hua facebook page.

The Week that Was

Come on Bahrain… let’s do better next week, shall we?

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Empty ‘Forgiveness’

It has become commonplace for people, as soon as a vile violent act takes place, to say ‘I forgive’ whoever/whatever.  Such forgiveness is thoroughly empty and utterly meaningless.  Forgiveness which is based on nothing at all is permission and forgiving someone who shows neither sorrow nor regret and who hasn’t even asked for it is to offer something empty and pointless.

In other words, as I’ve suggested before, forgiveness without repentance is permission.

What, after all, is the point of telling a murderer who has not expressed either regret or sorrow “I forgive you’?  So what?  How does that change him or you?

Oh to be sure, it makes people feel better about themselves.  “So and so did something terrible but I forgive them”.  So what?  Now you feel that you’ve done something, but tell me, what exactly have you accomplished other than giving yourself a pat on the back?

Refusing to require repentance simply enables the murderer.  Empty forgiveness is enabling and there’s no biblical basis for it at all.  Indeed, quite the contrary- ‘God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance’.  God doesn’t grant facile forgiveness because God knows that if people aren’t sorry for what they’ve done, they’ll do it again just as soon as they get the chance and God is not an enabler of sin.

Empty forgiveness isn’t strength.  It’s weakness.  It is surrender to evil.  It is acceptance of wrongdoing.  It is the turning of a blind eye to perverse cruelty.  It’s only real purpose is to make people feel better about their own sin and it’s the delusion that suggests that if I blindly ‘forgive’ others maybe that’s the way God will forgive me.  Maybe, I hope, God is like me and I can do whatever I want and he won’t really hold me responsible.

Empty forgiveness.  It’s another one of those things that’s only designed to make people feel good- about themselves.  Other than that, it’s quite pointless.